A complete list of graduate courses in Women's and Gender Studies, along with descriptions, is available in the graduate bulletin.


Fall 2012 Graduate Certificate Core Courses


WST 601.01

Feminist Theory:

“Race, Nation, Gender”

Melissa Forbis


This course will examine the key debates and concepts that have informed contemporary articulations of feminist theory. We will focus on how feminist theory is produced, along with gender, through configurations of nation, race, citizenship, sexuality, and class in different historical and cultural contexts. We will begin with a brief look at the shifts in feminist theory from the 1970s to the early 21st century by examining a selection of classic texts. Reading across disciplines, we will employ a transnational feminist perspective to examine the continuities and ruptures of feminist theorizing in diverse locations, challenging the presumed location of theory in the West/Global North and the middle-class. Finally, we will work collectively to trace the conditions and contours of emerging feminist thought. Themes include: nationalism and the nation‐state; colonialism and postcolonialism; borders, boundaries and borderlands; and migration and diaspora.


M. Jacqui Alexander, Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred

Jafari Allen, Venceremos?: The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba

Mahasweta Devi, Imaginary Maps (trans. Gayatri Spivak)

Emma Pérez, The Decolonial Imaginary: Writing Chicanas into History

Jasbir Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times

Robyn Wiegman, Object Lessons


Wednesdays                                       4:00-6:50pm              Humanities Room# 2052


WST 610

Advanced Topics in Women’s Studies:

“Madness and Civilization, 1960-1980”

   Lisa Diedrich

This is a class about madness, reason, and time; or about how and why madness emerged as a particular preoccupation at a particular moment in history. Why 1960-1980? Because madness and its diagnoses and treatments figured prominently in the social, political, theoretical, and institutional transformations that took place leading up to and after the widespread upheavals of 1968. We will trace the multiple figurations of madness in some of the key texts of social and critical theory, as well as in literary and film texts, in order to consider questions about subjectivity, power, and ethics. We will start with Michel Foucault’s work, because it is through investigations into the experiences and events of madness that Foucault will begin to develop his archeological and genealogical methods. In the early 1960s, he takes up questions of madness in history and the relationship between reason and unreason. He returns to the topic again, and anew, in the early 1970s when he considers various practices of psychiatric power. One of our tasks will be to think about Foucault’s historical-ontological investigations of madness as histories of the present of the 1960s and 1970s. Alongside Foucault’s History of Madness (1961), The Archeology of Knowledge (1969), and the lectures on Psychiatric Power from 1973-1974, we will explore other discourses and practices of madness as presented in Erving Goffman’s Asylums (1961), Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth (1961), Félix Guattari’s Chaosophy: Texts and Interviews 1972-1977 (2009), Gilles Deleuze’s Desert Islands and Other Texts 1953-1974 (2004), Juliet Mitchell’s Psychoanalysis and Feminism (1974), and Hélène Cixous and Catherine Clément’s The Newly Born Woman (1975). Another task will be to consider how these thoughts on madness from the 1960s and 1970s shape later post-structuralist, psychoanalytic, and/or feminist thought.

Tuesdays                                            4:00-6:50pm               Humanities Room# 2052


CLT608.01/EGL 608.03/SPN 612.01
Cross Cultural Perspectives:

“Theorizing World Cinema”

E. Ann Kaplan

Adrian Perez-Melgosa


In this course we will examine the way films from around the world have engaged with issues that are both global and local in their repercussions. The course looks at a corpus of films dealing with one or several of the following topics: migration/diasporas, global markets/local economies, social trauma, borders/contact zones, ecologies, and intercultural affects. We will contextualize the movies through a conceptual framework composed of film theory as well as cultural, gender, race, and social theories. In preparation for the course, students should be familiar with basic concepts of film analysis and cinematic language, and basic critical theory.  


Tuesdays                                                        1:00-3:50 p.m.            Humanities #1009


CLT /CST 609.02

Topics in Cultural Theory:

“Homeland (In)Securities”

                                                                             Nancy Hiemstra


Since 2001, the pursuit of ‘homeland security’ has played an increasing role in shaping our practical and ideological worlds. This course critically examines the relationship between homeland security and experiences of insecurity ‘at home.’ Our inquiries will encompass a range of scales and places. We will begin by exploring the evolution of ideas of national security in U.S. history and the adoption of the term ‘homeland security’ after the 9/11 attacks. Then, we will scrutinize the work that homeland security does to shape public discourse and policy. We will ask: How has homeland security framed domestic policies, such as those regarding incarceration, labor, education, and immigrants? How have particular ideas of femininity and masculinity been incorporated into public policy? How does the stated objective of defending the homeland shape U.S. foreign policies (such as those regarding drugs, borders, and international aid) and drive militarization? Next, we will consider ways in which homeland (in)security is reconfiguring intimate spaces of our everyday lives. How has the concept been used to legitimate violence and discrimination? How can it shape personal interactions across cultural and ethnic groups? How has it normalized new tactics of surveillance? Course material and discussion will also examine the work that this concept does outside of the United States. For example: How has homeland security been taken up in discourse and policy around the world? In what ways do U.S. homeland security policies reverberate into daily life in other countries? What does the security-driven geographical extension of boundary policing say about the conceptualization of sovereignty? The course will approach these questions by critically evaluating current events through a range of theoretical and disciplinary lenses. We will draw on work by, for example, Giorgio Agamben, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Derek Gregory, Jennifer Hyndman, Amy Kaplan, Cindi Katz, and William Walters.


Thursdays                                          1:00-3:50 p.m.                        Humanities #2052                 


CLT /CST 609.03

Topics in Cultural Theory

“The Cultural Study of Mobilities”

     Liz Montegary

Mobility studies is an emerging field that examines the intersecting movements of people, things, capital, and information across the world as well as the movements of everyday life, including interpersonal affective exchanges, physical bodily processes, and communication and transportation technologies. This seminar begins with an overview of critical perspectives on the meanings and practices of mobility during the modern period and offers an introduction to what Mimi Sheller and John Urry have called the “new mobilities paradigm” within the social sciences. Although this new field has drawn heavily on the work of geographers, sociologists, and anthropologists, this seminar will pay particular attention to what interdisciplinary humanities approaches can do for the study of mobilities. Specifically, we will look at the ways in which the field creates bridges between feminist and queer studies, critical ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, and science and technology studies. We will investigate how circuits of mobility are intimately connected to processes of immobilization, and we will consider questions of social/economic justice in relation to the ethics of mobility. How has the rise of transnational capitalism given way to new modes of governing mobile subjects and desires? What might an analysis of the overlapping movements of tourists, soldiers, and migrants contribute to our understanding of borders and citizenship? How have developments in transportation and navigation technologies instigated new ways of being, seeing, and feeling? What theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches are necessary for studying the global circulation of objects, images, and affect? Readings will include work by Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Timothy Cresswell, Inderpal Grewal, Amit Rai, Jasbir Puar, Sara Ahmed, and Scott Lauria Morgensen.

Thursdays                                          4:00-6:50 p.m.                        Humanities #2052     




 WST 512.01/SOC 518.01

Gender and Culture:

“Sociology of Gender”

Michael Kimmel

In the past thirty years, in part because of the insistence of the women’s movement both inside and outside the academy, gender has come to be understood as one of the central axes around which social life revolves. And so the distinctly sociological analysis of gender has likewise expanded dramatically, so that today the Sex and Gender section of the American Sociological Association is the largest section of the organization.

The literature in the sociology of gender begins, properly and predictably, with a critique of mainstream sociology’s myopic exclusion of women. Women’s experiences, perspectives, interests, knowledge were omitted in a generally androcentric social science; and each of the social sciences has witnessed such a critique. From this initial critique, several different strands of exciting empirical research have emerged. Some have continued to explore the specificity of women’s experiences, often reifying and naturalizing sex difference as gender difference. Others have assumed biological similarities, but rather explored the ways in which gender differences are created in a system of gender relations, and the ways in which both difference and inequality are reproduced through both institutional arrangements and social interactions. That is, as you might have guessed, the perspective of this course.

In this course we will explore the historical emergence of a distinctly sociological perspective on gender difference and gender inequality, and become familiar with the different institutional arenas and methodological strategies one can follow to explore those themes. As a broad survey of the widest possible spectrum - rather than a detailed investigation of one specific arena - the course is intended to serve three purposes: (1) to familiarize graduate students with the range of theoretical perspectives, analytic strategies and institutional arenas in which gender relations are being examined in the social sciences; (2) to familiarize both new and advanced graduate students with substantive and pedagogical issues in the teaching of Gender Studies: and (3) to engage with graduate students in all disciplines who understand that given the centrality of gender in social life.


Mondays                                            2:00-5:00 p.m.                        SBS # N 403


PHI doctoral seminar

Psychoanalysis and Philosophy:

Classical and Contemporary Issues

Ed Casey


This course will first take up classical psychoanalytic theory in Freud and Klein, followed by its revision by Lacan. From there, issues such as the incorporation of the other, the role of the ego and super-ego, emotion (e.g., guilt, melancholy, the uncanny), the Oedipus complex, temporality, the place of culture, and gender identity will be pursued with readings in figures such as Abraham and Torok, Laplanche, Deleuze and Guattari (in Anti-Oedipus), Kristeva, Irigaray, and Rogozinski. Throughout, emphasis will be placed upon psychoanalytic ideas and practice in their interplay with philosophical notions and questions. Special stress will be placed on the mind/body relation as it emerges in various thinkers; on the role of fantasy and memory; on the role of the unconscious in the psychopathology of everyday life; on the nature of dreams and their interpretation; and on the character and fate of language and speech in psychoanalytic therapy. No prior knowledge of psychoanalytic theory or practice is presumed.


Wednesdays                                       6:30-9:30 p.m.                                   



PHI masters seminar

The Sublime and Sublimation

Megan Craig



This course investigates the notion of the Kantian sublime in light of the psychoanalytic concept of sublimation, with a focus on writings by Freud, Julia Kristeva, and Melanie Klein. Sublimation entails a redeployment of physic energies into new, more fruitful, or socially acceptable directions. Often, though not always, sublimation results in the creation of a work of art. We will consider what it might mean for sublimation to be “successful” and whether sublimation is possible in all cases. We will also ask about the traumatic aspects of Kant’s analysis of the sublime turn of mind in order to question the degree to which trauma, imagination, creative expression, and psychic wellbeing may or may not be linked. In addition to Kant, Freud, Kristeva, and Klein, we will also read excerpts from Burke, Nietzsche, Newman, and Lacan.

Required Texts:

Kant, The Critique of Judgment, and Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime.

Freud, The Freud Reader, Ed. Peter Gay (W.W. Norton, 1995).

Kristeva, Black Sun (Columbia U. Press, 1992).

Klein, The Selected Melanie Klein (Free Press, 1987).


Mondays                                12:00-3:00 p.m.                      Stony Brook Manhattan


HIS 543.01

Sexuality, Race, and the Nation State

Gill Frank


With an emphasis on US history since the 19th century, this graduate course examines the intertwined histories of race, sexuality and the state. Drawing on historical and theoretical sources, we investigate sexuality and race alongside each other and thereby explore violent encounters, loving relationships, legal battles, political activism, commercial exchanges, class antagonisms, religious mores, gender politics, popular cultural representations, and intellectual debates. By exploring the intersection of race and sexuality in relation to the growth of the modern state, we take up other key themes including: governmentality, nationalism, transnational politics, imperialism, and the law.


Tuesdays                                            4:00-6:50                   

Upcoming Events

Spring 2012

Feminist Campus Colloquium

Salander/Blomkvist: Challenging Stereotypes in the Millennium Trilogy
Linda Stein
, artist, and Michael Kimmel, Distinguished Professor, Sociology

January 25, Wednesday 12:50 - 2:10 pm
Co-sponsored with the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook

Humanities 1006



Women's and Gender Studies • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5355 • Phone: 631.632.7460
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